Epicurean Extravaganza Oct/Nov 2018
A 13+ Day Special Small Group Opportunity to Experience New Zealand,
its People, Places, and also its Finest Wines and Foods
You'll get to enjoy world
class fine wines and food, shared with a great group of
fellow Travel Insiders, while touring through beautiful New
Zealand in their springtime, this October.
Personally escorted by me -
David Rowell, the Travel Insider (I'm a New Zealander
myself) this is a rare chance (I average one NZ tour every
to share my homeland on a Travel Insider tour.
Here's a very special opportunity to enjoy not just
the typical beauty of New Zealand, but to add a layer of less
common enhancements to the standard international visitor
As a New Zealander myself, and having helped many thousands of
people with their NZ touring in the past while owning one of the
US' largest NZ/Australian specialty travel wholesalers, I'm using my Insider knowledge, my
expertise, and my NZ contacts to create a distinctive tour that
combines the essential 'A List' experiences with some rarer and
more special aspects of NZ that are usually overlooked.
And then, added to all that, you have a special chance of
enjoying some of the country's finest wine and food, while
interacting personally with the chefs and wine-makers
responsible for such wonderful creations, as part of New
Zealand's annual Food and Wine Classic Festival in Hawke's Bay.
Start Date and Options
Our tour starts in Auckland,
New Zealand, on Sunday 28 October 2018.
Depending on the day you
'lose' as you cross the dateline (and which is of course
returned to you when you go back home) and the air itinerary you
select, you probably need to start your travels on (or before) Friday
We are offering a four night pre-tour
option in the Queenstown region of NZ's South Island if you wish
to add further to your New Zealand experience. Most people
added this to their itinerary on our 2014 and 2016 tours, and everyone was
delighted they did.
End Date and Options
Our tour ends in Wellington
Tuesday 6 November 2016.
You are of course welcome to
stay on in New Zealand as you wish. We suggest you don't
fly out of Wellington until late that afternoon, or even better,
stay on for the night in the country's capital city.
We are also offering a four night post-tour
option over to the Cairns region in Tropical North Queensland,
We've carefully designed
your tour to balance your individuality and personal preferences
on the one hand, and group experiences and added value on the
Accordingly, while including
touring and some sightseeing, accommodation every night, most
breakfasts and a few other meals, we've left plenty of time open
for you to add exactly the experiences, meals, and other
activities you wish.
And, of course, everything
is optional, so if you want to spend a lazy day by the pool rather
than an active day out and about sightseeing, then stay at the
hotel for the day instead. It is all up to you.
Included items are
Large luxury coach for best
views and comfort while touring, complete with on-board
David Rowell (the 'Travel Insider' himself) as tour
One night stay in Auckland
and breakfast the next morning
Two night stay in Rotorua
with breakfast each morning
One night stay in Gisborne
and breakfast the next morning
Four night stay in Napier,
with breakfast each morning
One night stay in Martinborough and breakfast
the next morning
Afternoon city sights tour of
Auckland harbor ferry cruise
Tour of the Waitomo Caves
Visit and Farm Show at the Agrodome
Tour of the Te Puia
Geothermal Reserve and Maori Arts & Crafts Center
Tour of the Buried Village
Mystery surprise evening
dinner and entertainment - to celebrate David's birthday
Gisborne city tour
Gisborne wine center visit and
Napier and Hastings city
Hawke's Bay area sightseeing
A stop at an 'ice cream
garden' and a cone of possibly NZ's finest gourmet ice cream
(hopefully on a warm sunny afternoon)
Two winery visits and
tastings in Hawke's Bay
Lunch at a Hawke's Bay winery
Wairarapa winery visit and
Wellington city tour
Guided tour of NZ's historic
Short stops in other towns
Of perhaps equal importance in
understanding the distinctive and special nature of this tour is
not just what the tour includes, but also what it omits.
What the tour proudly
does NOT include!
NO Early starts
NO Crowded coaches
NO Characterless hotels on the
outskirts of cities
NO Long days of endless travel
on a bus
NO Huge groups being rushed
through tourist trap after tourist trap
NO 'Shopping opportunities' at
over-priced trashy souvenir shops
NO Group meals, at fixed times,
with limited fixed menus, in generic cafeterias
NO Regimented inflexible
schedules and mandatory events
NO Obnoxious inexperienced 'out
of their depth' first time travelers
NO Crowded schedules leaving
no flexible free time
starts in Auckland, travels down via Waitomo to Rotorua,
then goes to Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, Martinborough and
Wellington (the blue line).
A pre-tour option is in Queenstown and optionally
Christchurch (green) and a post-tour option could take
you to the Cairns region in tropical North Queensland,
Click here for the
detailed day by day itinerary.
Because this tour is
small group, and because it has a substantial fixed cost (ie coach
and driver/guide), the cost
per person significantly varies based on the total number of people
Rather than choose a price and
either make an undue profit (or loss) depending on the number
who participate, we're setting the price on a variable scale,
depending on the total number who sign up.
Our 2016 tour to New
up with 22 people and the tour before that had 21 people so we
hope to have 20+ people again in 2018.
$3495 if the group is 10
- 14 people (minimum 10 people needed)
$3295 if the group is 15
- 17 people
$3095 if the group is 18
- 20 people
$2995 if the group is 21+
Rates are per
We'll update this page as/when the
group size grows and the price per person falls.
A single supplement of $995
is available. We will also help to match together singles
if you'd like to share with a compatible fellow single traveler.
Shorter Tour Price
If you decide to join us
somewhere else on a later day, and/or leave us prior to the
final day, of course the tour price will reduce.
As a quick rule of thumb, if
you estimate the tour will reduce by about 8% for each day you miss,
that will help you to calculate the cost of a shorter tour.
We'll of course give you a firm price when you apply to join the
Other Price Comments
All these prices reflect a 3% discount
A $500 per person
non-refundable deposit is required to confirm your places on
Tour does not include the
costs of travel to and from the tour start and end
points, or anything not specified as included.
We are staying in generally
four star type hotels - much better than average hotels - in all the
places we visit.
These properties are clean and
comfortable, conveniently located, and have all the things
needed for your stay.
But in most cases,
there may be opportunities to upgrade your stay within the hotel - moving to a
deluxe room or suite, or in some cases, moving to a nearby elite
Please consult with us if
you'd like to enhance your travel experience further.
What About the Air Fare?
You will save money and gain
flexible convenience if you arrange your own air travel.
These days airlines seldom give discounts to groups, and
sometimes even charge more, while also adding extra restrictions
to the tickets!
You can choose whichever
carrier has the best fare and the best schedules for you, and
you can also choose a carrier that you wish to earn miles with.
You can even cash in miles and fly on frequent flier awards.
We'll be pleased to answer
any questions you might have about arranging your air
transportation, of course.
How Should I Travel to and from New Zealand?
Our tour starts in Auckland
(airport code AKL), New Zealand's largest city and main
To get to Auckland from the
US, you can fly non-stop on Air New Zealand from Los Angeles or
San Francisco - it is about a 13 hour flight.
Alternatively, you can fly
on various airlines from various west coast gateways, typically
with a stop in Hawaii, Fiji, Tahiti, or even Australia on the
way to New Zealand.
If you're doing the pre-tour
option in Queenstown (ZQN) we recommend you add a domestic
flight from AKL-ZQN (and then from ZQN-AKL after our time in
The same options apply, albeit in the
reverse order, for your return back to the US (with the probable
additional requirement for a domestic flight from Wellington to
connect with your international flight out of Auckland.
If you are traveling on to
Cairns for the Australian extension, you'll want to fly
from WLG to CNS (Cairns). At the end of your
time in the Cairns region, you could then fly to
other places in Australia, or to the main gateway cities of
Brisbane (BNE), Sydney (SYD) or Melbourne (MEL) for your flight
back to the US.
Joining and Leaving the Tour
Joining the tour is simple
straightforward - simply arrive in Auckland on or before
Sunday 28 October. Most flights arrive in the morning, so
we've nothing scheduled until a city sightseeing tour that
Leaving the tour is also
simple. The tour ends in Wellington on Tuesday, about
mid-day, 6 November, and you can take any flight at any time
later that day (or stay on as you choose).
How to Extend or Vary this Tour
There are many ways you can
extend or vary this tour.
You can spend more time
in New Zealand before the start of this tour, and/or anywhere else
you wish, too.
We recommend that you arrive into
New Zealand a day or more before the Sunday 28 Oct official tour
start (perhaps best achieved by enjoying our pre-tour option in
the Queenstown area, which most people choose to include), so as to give you a chance to unwind from the
flights and adjust to the time zone
changes and jet lag.
Arriving a day or more early
also gives you some 'emergency' time, just in case your flights
are delayed or connections are missed or bags are lost.
During the tour, all of the
day touring is of course optional and you can substitute your
own activities if you prefer.
After the tour, you can
add the Australian option, spend more time in New Zealand, or travel on anywhere else you
So, you have many choices
about adding extra time and sightseeing. We're here to help ensure your experience is as good as
possible, and will be pleased to assist with your pre or post
tour planning - please don't hesitate to ask.
We also offer a couple of
Travel Insider optional extensions,
summarized below and described in more detail on this page.
Pre-Tour Option in the
The Queenstown region of
NZ's South Island is not only the most quintessentially
beautiful of all of New Zealand and crammed full of amazing
sights and experiences for the international visitor, but is
also home to some great wines and dining experiences.
four night pre-tour
Queenstown option greatly adds to the richness of your total NZ
experience. Please click the link for full details of this
Let us know if you'd like
more details on this.
Post-Tour Option in Beautiful
Cairns, Tropical North Queensland, Australia
After your time in New
Zealand, why not cross the Tasman Sea and head up to lovely Cairns in Tropical North Queensland.
Our optional four night
Reef and Rainforest package includes touring to all the main
things to see and do, plus some real treasures of experiences
and perhaps quite literally some real gems too (hint - think
opal and pearl.....).
Let us know if you'd like
more details on this.
Both Options - Arranging Air
If you choose to do either
or both options you will be adding additional flights to your
basic itinerary (the basic itinerary being of course from home to Auckland then from Wellington back
Depending on your option
choices, your travel within NZ may be best included on your
international fare or may possibly be better purchased
Your travel agent can
advise/assist you with this, of course, and we're also happy to
We recommend you should
consider travel insurance as prudent protection. Rather
than attempt to sell you some policy ourselves that may or may
not suit your needs, we recommend you go to
this insurance shopping site, which offers comparisons
between something like 100 different policies offered by 18
different insurers, giving you all the options you need.
information about travel insurance than you probably ever
thought you'd want to know, please click the link to read our three part series
on the subject.
Need More Information?
If you've a question or need
more clarification, go ahead and ask. Feel free to
send us an email, or call us at (206)337-2317.
As soon as your
application is accepted,
you will be asked to send in your deposit within seven days.
Tour Terms and Conditions
standard terms and conditions
apply to this tour.
In addition, please note
these extra terms :
1. Deposit is
required within seven days of your participation being
confirmed. Full payment
is due on or before Friday 27 July, 2018.
2. US, UK, EU,
Canadian, and Australian citizens require a
current passport that will not expire for at least six months
after the date of their planned return from New Zealand in order
to be admitted to New Zealand, but do not require a visa. Citizens of other countries should check with the
airline that will transport them to New Zealand to determine what
passport and visa requirements may apply.
All citizens (except NZ and
Australia) need an electronically issued visa to visit
plenty of room in the coach's luggage bays for as much luggage
as you choose to bring, and most hotels provide porterage.
But airlines charge massively for extra luggage and some people
like to handle their own bags to save time when checking in and
out of hotels, so you might want to try to limit your luggage to
one major suitcase and a carry on per person.
4. Tour price is based
on a current wholesale NZ/US exchange rate in the range of 0.690
- 0.740 and an Aust/US exchange rate in the range of 0.755 - 0.805. In the event exchange rates move outside this
rate, the tour price will be adjusted accordingly. If the
exchange rate moves such that the tour price increases by more
than 10%, you may cancel without penalty and receive a full
refund of your deposit. Tour price is locked in place once
full payment has been received.